The presidential flagbearer of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has countered accusations by critics who claimed his campaign team hired thugs to pose as Christian clergy at Wednesday’s unveiling of the party’s vice presidential candidate, Kashim Shettima.
The APC had unveiled former Borno State Governor, Senator Shettima as its vice presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections.
The event, which was held at the Shehu Yar’adua centre in Abuja, had in attendance the party’s presidential candidate and ex-Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, party chieftains and religious leaders.
However, viral pictures and videos of the event accused Tinubu of hiring urchins to dress Christain clerics.
A communique through the Director, Media & Communication of his Campaign Organisation, Bayo Onanuga, described the event as an open affair, which allowed members of the public to attend, including the clergymen and some others now being derided by hirelings of the opposition.
The former governor of Lagos also alluded to the viral pictures and videos of the clergymen and women “as unwarranted distractions” by political opponents.
“We want to say that those clergymen were not fake, not mechanics or yam sellers as the purveyors of hatred have made Nigerians believe in the social media. They are not big names in Christendom yet, but they are gradually building up their missions,” it read.
“They are church leaders who genuinely believe that Nigerians must eschew politics of hatred and religious bigotry and rather embrace politics of peace and nation building.”
Tinubu stressed that his social media gathering and buzz was a calculated ploy by those seeking his downfall to distract many from the success of the unveiling.
“The orchestrated social media sensation over the presence of the men is needless and all calculated to detract from the huge success recorded at the momentous event on Wednesday,” he said.
“We, therefore, deplore the hysterical twisting of the presence of these men and women in cassocks and the false accusation against our candidates, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Shettima.”
“We are well aware that the opposition parties and the sponsors of the social media charade are jittery and threatened by the intimidating political credentials of our candidates. The only way they hope to shift the attention of public scrutiny away from their uninspiring candidates and credentials is to create social media distraction.
He reiterated his commitment to tackling the problems facing the nation and improving the standard of living of every citizen.
“Our campaign is determined on focusing on core governance issues that affect all Nigerians with a view to confronting them and making the desired improvements in the standard of living of our people.
“We believe Nigerians are too wise and discerning to see through these shenanigans. Asiwaju Tinubu and his running mate and our great party are working very hard to provide purposeful leadership and good progressive governance that will improve the quality of life of Nigerians.